The Toff in Town
Many a good night has been had at The Toff in Town.
The Toff in Town is the place to go for live acts, such as music, comedy, theatre and even speakers. I’ve been there for all of these at one time or another myself. The Toff in Town has one of the best midweek gig calendars in Melbourne.
On any Friday or Saturday night you’ll find resident DJ’s Dr Phil Smith or Andy Frost on the decks. It’s the only club in town with the novelty of dining a la carte in the same space that transforms into a pumping dance floor after dinner.
Adjacent to the stage room is the carriage room. Resembling something like the Orient Express, the main bar area has a huge rectangular train-like carriage with private booths lined all the down both sides. The space is filled with deep, sexy sounds from the DJ cage at the back of the room.
Almost completely private with bi-fold doors and blinds, as well as red checked tablecloths, low lighting and service at the press of a button, the carriages are a lovely, intimate little space to hide away with a few friends or a special someone. Though I have two pieces of advice: 1) the booths are popular so consider booking; and 2) don’t get too frisky in there, the illusion of complete privacy will be shattered when staff inform you that there are cameras discreetly fitted in all booths.
On any Friday or Saturday night The Toff in Town will be packed. It’s the kind of place where you get lost in the night. One minute you arrive for a delicious Thai dinner with friends, the next it’s 3 am at the end of a raucous time of drinking and dancing.
So while this bar is best known for fun times, it’s less known for its cocktails. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had many great drinks at The Toff in Town, but what I mean is that it doesn’t have a reputation for being one of Melbourne’s ultimate cocktail destinations.
It’s not easy being the little sister of a shining star like Cookie. I myself know what it’s like to spend your life over shadowed by an older glossier sibling. Where The Toff in Town doesn’t get enough credit is for its Sunday to Thursday cocktail bar awesomeness.
Sit at the L-shaped brass bar in the classy carriage room. As if the high ceilings, mirrors and vertically scaling windows aren’t enough of a visual delight, the bar top is styled with roses, bottles, barrels and fruit. The colourful display and contrasting textures under the gold and red reflects from the light fixtures overhead make it a fascinating little pozi to perch and sip.
I happened to be at The Toff in Town for this story the day after its Bar Manager Jonathan Minihan was announced one of the top 25 in the Australian Finals of the 2015 Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year competition. It was the first time I’d met John and I was most impressed by his attention to detail. He’s a total perfectionist. Each of the cocktails John made me was crafted to perfection. I highly recommend his upcoming Masterclass ‘A Tip of the Glass to Prohibition’ on the 16th May at The Toff in Town.
Beefeater 24 Gin, Alize Blue, housemade green tea liqueur and fresh kiwi. A herbaceous and fruity cocktail served in a delicately decorated teacup.
Disaronno, Sierra Tequila, Remy Martin VSOP Cognac, Angostura bitters and ruby red grapefruit. A nutty, citrusy cocktail with a woodiness thanks to the way the glass is treated with the palo santo smoke before the cocktail is transferred to it. I do love a bit of smoke and fire.
Don Julio Anejo, Koval Caraway Liqueur, Yellow Chartreuse, housemade butternut squash puree, pinch of rosemary infused salt, Monin chocolate syrup and a full egg, dusted with nutmeg. Think back to the eggnog your Nana used to make, add booze and sweet pumpkin.
Beefeater 24 Gin, Chase Elderflower Liqueur, cucumber, ginger syrup, lemon and lavender bitters. Light, floral and fresh like an English garden.
Havana Club Selection de Maestros Rum, Angostura bitters, lime juice and ginger syrup. A deep, rich and spicy cocktail served in vintage glassware that’s been given a lime rub.
History of Guangdong
Beefeater 24 Gin, Paraiso Lychee Liqueur, Yellow Chartreuse, Bigallet Thyme Liqueur, fresh lychees, mint, lemongrass and coconut bitters. Served with a side of Camembert cheese, which complements the lychee beautifully. The perfect sweet and savoury end to my cocktail journey at The Toff in Town.
Open: Mon-Wed 5 pm to 3 am | Thu 5 pm to 4 am | Fri 3 pm to 5 am | Sat 5 pm to 5 pm | Sun 4 pm to 3 am
Second Floor Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne
“A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.”